A network of channel partners is important to your company as it provides an excellent way to expand the reach of your products or services and business revenue. However, without the right practices, procedures, and educational initiatives, the high cost of managing channel partners can slow your revenue growth.
As brands and companies increasingly use channels, alliances, and partnerships as the primary means of reaching customers, it becomes essential to manage these business relationships in a consistent, predictable, and productive manner.
Globalization and international markets
In this rapid change and globalized world, most businesses will want to distribute their products or services globally, which is possible through a good network of channel partners. They act as an extension of your sales team.
With the right resources and training initiatives, your channel partners can help transform your marketing and sales efforts. According to CSO Insights, 63.5% of businesses indicated that channel partners contribute to their annual revenue. Furthermore, the research study reveals that 19.3% of businesses attribute over 90% of their total revenue to channel sales.
What’s a channel partner?
A channel partner is defined as an intermediary between your company and your customers that provides sales, implementation, and customer support services. It is worth noting that some Fortune 500 companies, such as SAP, generate approximately one-third (33%) of their sales revenue through the indirect channel. Accenture claims that for most technology companies, the indirect sales channel has been and will continue to be an essential aspect of their business. Indirect sales are often more profitable and allow for faster growth than direct sales.
What’s channel partner training?
Channel partner training is an important process of educating your partners and vendors on the knowledge and information they need to promote, market, sell, and serve your products or services, ensuring high customer loyalty and satisfaction. Partner training covers various areas such as onboarding partners and continuous training programs to align all your partners with product enhancements and new releases.
These training programs and initiatives will help develop the skills and expertise of partners to represent your services or products to customers in the best way possible.
4 valuable tips: Optimizing and building a strong partner relationship through partner training
- Communicate frequently and align your organization’s vision with your partners
Competition is fierce in today’s environment, and it is very likely that the channel partners representing you will also represent your competitors. Hence, the importance of creating open lines of communication and increasing the success of your partners, as it ensures you stay top of mind.
A key ingredient of a successful partnership is ensuring your channel partners understand and embrace the company’s vision and core values.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allow you to track your company’s progress against performance targets. By aligning your channel partners’ training with various KPIs and making the goals and objectives of your training program explicit and easy to understand, you will help your business make the most of these training sessions.
Transparency, communication, clearly defined goals and a harmonized vision are the pillars of a successful collaboration. Your training program for your channel partners should promote these qualities from the start so that everyone is on the same page.
- Provide flexibility in partner training
Ensure your channel partners have all the training and information they need to succeed. While it is important to establish well-defined rules of engagement, you must not overlook flexibility in partner training.
A comprehensive repository of online self-paced training videos, manuals, datasheets, and support material should be created to provide options for different learning needs. A good learning management system (LMS) should be used to allow your channel partners to interact with your material and assessments at any time, regardless of where they are located. This flexibility and convenience will encourage learners to learn.
An active learning lab, such as Virtual Lab, will promote recall and a deeper understanding of the material as learners become more engaged with the content. When real-life scenarios are used, it adds an element of pragmatism. Smarter platforms and tools will adapt to an individual’s learning pathway, allowing them to gain greater knowledge.
- Allow your partners to provision complex environments as needed
Every meeting with your customer is a valuable opportunity in a competitive business. Failing to impress them during the initial meetings can leave you with no second chance. Therefore, in a B2B software business, when your partners meet with clients, it is ideal to allow them to provision for complex software environments in minutes. This will build trust in your partner and your product, keeping prospects engaged and accelerating sales opportunities.
In the past, provisioning for different environments was typically managed manually and was time-consuming. However, we can build a program quickly through virtual labs today and empower your partners to engage positively with potential clients.
- Improve your partners' product knowledge
Your partners cannot sell what they don’t know and understand. Hence, you’ll need to provide continuous education starting with the onboarding process, updates on new features and new product releases to share findings and coverage of key industry trends.
As partners are an extension of your sales team, they will need to have good product knowledge. A growing number of organizations are now offering certifications to provide authenticity to their channel partners. This adds another layer of credibility to your partners and your prospective clients.
To achieve your business goals and grow your revenue, it is important to integrate channel partner training into your enablement strategy. Frequent communications, maintaining product knowledge, and flexibility are all important components in training your partners and will enable them to provision for complex environments (for software), facilitate collaboration and accelerate sales opportunities.
Investing time and money to identify and implement the right platforms and tools to help you deliver good partner training will provide you with a strong ROI. For example, Acronis, an all-in-one cyber protection organization, improved partner training and increased partner revenue by 104% within the first year of implementing Constructor's Learning Platform.
The Learning Platform encourages active learning, intelligently adapts to your learning journey, and enables collaboration with your instructor and peers. Our extensive portfolio of products includes a Learning Management System (LMS), Virtual Lab, and Coding Lab that will empower you to create virtual software training through real-life scenarios.
Contact Constructor today for a free consultation.